SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — It tried to execute a balanced offense with a mixture of runs and passes, but it discovered that its aerial attack didn't work too well.
So the La Cañada High football team did what it knows best. It stuck to its running game and didn't bother to pass.
La Cañada used a stable of seven running backs to wear down a thin Glendale High defense and come away with a 16-14 nonleague victory Friday at Moyse Field.
"We saw some things we thought were open in the passing game," Spartan Coach Dan Yoder said. "But they weren't open."
Glendale Coach Alan Eberhart expected La Cañada to run.
"La Cañada runs the ball," Eberhart said. "We knew all about their [running backs]."
La Cañada (1-1) relied on its running game on a 15-play, 84-yard drive that took seven minutes off the clock and put the Spartans ahead, 16-6, with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
After an incomplete pass on the first play of the drive, the Spartans used 14 consecutive rushing plays, capping the drive with a two-yard touchdown run by Kyle Herron. The Spartans, who attempted 21 passes, averaged six yards per carry on the drive.
"If you can't run the ball, you can't win high school football games," Yoder said. "We found some success with it."
La Cañada rushed for 200 yards in 41 carries. Andy Paynter had 69 rushing yards, Matt Jones had 42 yards, and Franklyn Cervenka — whose 21-yard field goal gave the Spartans a 9-6 lead in the third — had 39 rushing yards. Jones added a one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
"They hurt us," Eberhart said. "They ran at us and we couldn't do anything about it."
Eberhart said the Nitros (1-1) hurt themselves.
"We suited maybe 30 tonight, and I'd say 14 of them didn't see the field," he said. "That's the way it is. We're going to be tired.
"The defense got tired because of three-and-outs on offense. That was frustrating."
Glendale struggled in the passing game, as Evan Norton was 14 of 37 with two interceptions. He nearly led a dramatic comeback, as Nitro Alex Yoon scored his second touchdown with 3:52 remaining in the game. But after an onside kick failed and La Cañada stalled on offense, Glendale was left with just 28 seconds and on its first play, it threw an interception and its fate was sealed.
"Passing the ball 37 times with this team is too much," said Eberhart, who received 102 receiving yards from Michael Davis. "But this is a game we had a chance to win. It's disappointing to come this close."